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Russian government probes allegations of iPhone price fixing by resellers

Russian resellers may be breaking price-fixing laws by offering iPhone models for the same prices across the board, regardless of the vendor, the country's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said on Monday.

"The Anti-Monopoly Service sees signs of price fixing violations in the Russian Federation at Apple iPhone resellers, which resulted in the same prices for these smartphones," the agency said in a statement seen by Reuters, announcing an investigation.

The case stems from a complaint that resellers have been offering the iPhone 6s/6s Plus for the same prices, even though they should nominally be competing with each other.

Those sellers have not only been locking in prices but doing so for specific time periods, the Service found.

The case may ultimately land on the doorstep of Apple, which is known to negotiate strict terms on iPhone sales — including forcing resellers to maintain pricing consistent with its own. Discounts do sometimes appear, but typically only towards the end of a model's initial run as vendors try to make way for new hardware.

Apple is largely dependent on resellers in Russia, since while it does take online iPhone orders, there are no Apple Stores in the country.